Welcome to 2021!!

I want to start 2021 by looking back and then looking forward.
As I reflect on 2020 and Magic the Gathering in 2020, it was a difficult year for all of us. For those of you who do not know, my day job is as a high school teacher. When the Covid-19 quarantine began, education for students went from in person learning to remote learning. This created unique challenges for educators around the world. How do you teach students that need personal contact to learn when we can’t gather for that learning to occur?

In many ways, it felt like every teacher became a new teacher because few had experience teaching students remotely. As the school year unfolded, teachers became more confident in what they did to teach students remotely, but it was evident that for far too many students remote learning did not work because of all the distracts they faced at home. This is and has been the most challenging and frustrating part of the experience for me as an educator because I felt (feel) that if I had these students in the classroom the entire semester the outcome for them would have been better.

I wanted to relay my experiences to you because I know that for many of us working and living in this environment has been difficult and challenging let alone trying to play Magic the Gathering in an environment where you did not have the opportunity to gather with others to play. Playing on Arena or Magic the Gathering Online can be a lonely, trying, and an emotionally challenging experience when you can’t interact with your opponent or friends while playing. I say all of this because you are not alone in what you are feeling about the game. I have good days and bad days playing, but I keep coming back like you do.

There are problems with Arena that make it frustrating to play the game on the platform. I’m not going to go over the issues because I’m going to assume that you know what they are if you are reading this article. The good news is that with so many people playing the game on Arena I hope that the problems will get addressed sooner rather than later to make the game play experience better for everyone.

That’s a quick look back at 2020. What will 2021 hold for us?

I have great hopes for this year. Hopes that we will get beyond Covid-19. Hopes that we can overcome together the divisiveness of 2020. Hopes that we will be able to gather in person later this year. All these hopes and my others center around overcoming the challenges that we face together. I believe that is the only way we can change the world for the better.
How do my hopes relate to Magic the Gathering? The answer is simple. Covid-19 has impacted the way we live our lives every day. This includes how and when we play Magic and with whom. Gathering is a big part of what makes Magic the Gathering the great game it is today. I can’t wait until we can gather again. Seeing everyone together will be a great gift for all of us.

This month will bring the newest Magic the Gathering standard set: Kaldheim. With each new set hope springs for players around the world. New cards lead to new decks and more diverse game play. So far, we have seen a handful of spoilers from the set and official spoiler season will start this Thursday with a stream on Twitch. The set looks like it may bring white to a more prominent position in the metagame, but with so few cards released we don’t know much yet. You can only play against Rogues or Gruul Adventure so many times before the games become almost robotic where you know depending on the play out of cards whether you will win or lose a game or match. My hope for the set is that it creates a much more diverse format.

My final big hope is that by the time we get to the middle of 2021 we will begin gathering again to play the game we love and can spend time with the friends we play Magic with again. I can’t wait for that time to come.

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!